What if churches and people got real…

 Dear church, can we all just start over?

I sat with a friend who had an aversion to church. Her words were tense, laced with hurt and anger.  She said she hated the hypocrisy.  The pious acts void of love. People pretending to have it all together; lying only to themselves. She had witnessed many fall from grace. She vowed never to return. I listened. I understood. My heart broke for her. Her aversion to organized religion and all things spiritual had caused a toxic divide in her heart. Her faith in God was shattered. 

Months later. I notice something changing. Her heart is softening. In a season of great despair, she’s been sensing a pull to Jesus. She tried to shake it off. She ignored it. Instead of fading, it grew. She knows it’s God. I listen. I understand. I rejoice! We’re on a journey towards spiritual healing. 

Here’s the deal, I say, some people don’t represent God very well. When we mess up, we blame God. I ask her to put all her ideas on pause and reorient her thinking. What if church is really a hospital–a place where people come to get healed. A place where we anticipate sick, broken, messy, flawed people being radically healed because that is what Jesus came to do! What if…

It’s been a beautiful journey for the both of us. She’s opened her heart to Jesus and is experiencing a life of great awe and joy. It was a process. A journey of love. A journey of trust. Trust that the Spirit in me would light up the darkness in her. He showed up and showed off!

So, dear church, can we all just start over? Wouldn’t it be awesome if churches and people got real? What if, instead of featuring the highlights, we’d start with the mess of it. What if websites began with:

We’re a motley crew of dysfunctional people trying to figure this Christian life out and we mess up often. We’re learning to think of others above ourselves and it’s been really hard. It takes practice. Someone will probably hurt you or offend you, but not intentionally. We are not perfect, we’re being perfected. Please be patient!

We have people experiencing crisis, serious health issues, financial ruin, wayward children, addictions, and death of loved ones….that’s just the beginning. We have new believers and mature believers navigating as best they can, stepping on toes along the way. We turn it into a dance of grace. There’s a lot of baggage, wounds, and sins that people bring with them, we don’t have you check your baggage at the door – we encourage you to bring it in – it’s what Jesus did! We love to watch as Christ gently removes the unnecessary and burdensome baggage and replaces it with His truth.

It may get messy (actually, it will), it will be uncomfortable, but Jesus died to expose the mess so that HE could clean it up….it’s His great pleasure! We believe the Gospel is the power of God in our midst bringing salvation and restoration to everyone who believes! It’s what the abundant life is all about (John 10:10)

So, please bear with us! Be willing to get messy without getting wounded. It requires thicker skin, abundant mercy, humility, surrender and people who won’t give up when the going gets tough.

The bottom line is we love Jesus! We are devoted to Him! LOVE is our foundation and we cling to the cross! We cling because if not, we’d be a hopeless mess! We’re quick to forgive, because we realize unforgiveness is a poison. We acknowledge Jesus has forgiven the inexcusable in us and we follow His example. We believe forgiveness is the foundation of freedom in Christ.

 If you feel tired, broken, and empty, if shame and condemnation weigh heavy, if you have skeletons in your closet, join us!
If you don’t know about the Bible or Jesus, join us!
If you know about the Bible and Jesus but want more, join us!
If you have a feeble prayer life and a shallow faith, join us!
You probably won’t fit in if you think you have it all together. If you don’t, join us!

Come as you are, bring your baggage and stay a while!

You are loved. 

Asking God For One Thing…

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We sat on a bench at the lake. In peaceful silence we sat. Hard to find words.

Her husband went to be with the Lord not even a year ago. He was too young and too wonderful.

He was our matchmaker 18 years ago. A work project teamed us up and the rest is history. He never let us forget how much we owed him. That joke never got old.

Years later, our daughters ended up in the same grade school. Playdates. Dinners. Party reunions.  You always knew there’d be laughter and silliness when he was around.

The world lost a good man!

And now his wife and I sit and share memories. We talk about the seeming randomness of life. About the twists and turns and highs and the very lows. We stare at the crisp, deep blue sky. We just stare up.

A flock of birds start flying back and forth in beautiful unison. All black. They’re choreographing a beautiful dance. They twist and turn. High and low they fly. We sit for a long while and take it in. And she shares about how sweet it is to fly with others…to share in the twists and turns…carried by their updrafts when it’s hard to fly alone.

And like two old ladies on a bench, in the midst of this wondrous sky dance, we drift into the past. And the past seems like the present when death takes the life of your best-friend. We remember the seasons of extravagant folly, and painful lack. Of health and sickness. Of extravagant travels and quiet days home. Of near death defibrillator shocks that bring us back to life. Of the world’s pull to more. More spending. More name brands. More bling. And the spinning. The absurd spinning. And the emptiness of it all. And we attest as King Solomon shared, “there is nothing new under the sun.” And w

We sit on a bench, staring into the sky and contemplate life. In our 20’s life spun fast. We chased dreams. Never satisfied. We believed we knew life. We really thought we had it figured out. Deep down, not comfortable in our own skin. In our 30’s something clicked. Greater peace. And thank the Lord, we lightened up. In our 40’s we came into our own skin. Sweeter after the initial 4-0 shock!  And wisdom learned shed light on how much more there was to grow and learn. And now, in our 50’s wisdom and experience and failures and history create an inner peace that reveals the reality of grace. Untethered and free. Our greatest joy we both agree is Christ and our hope is for eternity.

The Kingdom becomes more palpable when you taste death.

And today the brevity of life makes God’s narrative crystal clear. That love is it. That the ultimate joy of simplicity is the very crescendo of life. It inspires the pause we need to witness beautiful miracles and dancing in the skies.

Suddenly a white bird appears. Out of nowhere it joins in. We look at each other and back up. It stands out and shines bright. It knows the dance. It swoons back and forth with the flock. And we treasure every second of this dance in the sky. Random? No. Of course not! If we just pause long enough we will catch such glimpses. We trail the conversation to Jesus, the light who joins us in the depth of our darkest dance. He joins His flock, and stays close…shining bright. And we thank the Lord for creating this s t i l l and q u i e t opportunity, or we’d have missed this party in the sky.

When the sensory stimuli of the world fades, after the chasing ceases, and striving weans, I ask for just ONE beautiful thing: to know the love of the Father…to sit at His feet, looking up and catching the glimpses of His beauty, and wonders of His grace. To live with him in his house my whole life long. To contemplate his beauty and study at his feet.

Advent – Prepare for the coming of Christ

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God changed the world on Christmas. It was the day when Christ, the Son of God {God in flesh} came down from heaven and dared step into this broken world for freedom sake, to forgive, redeem, and restore. A sacrifice on Christ’s part; He came down to take us up—because without him it’s impossible. Without Him there’s no HOPE for eternity. Eternity requires perfection. And this flesh disqualifies; we’re not even good. Not even close. Some say, “But I’m a good person.” But, no! Not even close. We’re all a fine line to crazy. And many have crossed the line. We’ll never be good enough. Impossible. THAT’S why we need CHRISTmas.

Allowing the realization of these truths to soak-in-deep, into every crevice of mind, body and soul is Advent. Advent: expectant…waiting…reflection…it’s about preparing our hearts, shifting all focus to Christ. The Latin word for Advent means “coming”. It’s a journey that keeps us focused on the coming of Christ from birth and reminds us that He’s coming back.

So, beginning four Sundays before Christmas through Christmas Eve, journey with me through the truths of Scripture that point to the birth of the Messiah and His-story from there.

I pray that with each passing day this brief re-focus replaces all crazy-frenzy with HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE…and of course with the tangible presence of Christ!

#ReclaimingChristmas!

Advent Focus

imageThe Advent season has become as precious to me as Christmas day itself. Four weeks of intentional focus //re-focus//on the hope of Christ’s coming, the birth of Jesus. The Incarnation. It’s intended to remind us of the depth the birth of Jesus represents. And it reminds us he’s coming again!

You’ll find lots of devotions and expressions this season is observed; learn and research all about it, but here’s the scoop: Advent means coming. We celebrate the coming of Jesus.

Advent is a means to prepare our hearts and lives in anticipation of ALL Christ’s birth represents: freedom, eternity, forgiveness, peace… This year, Advent began Sunday, November 29. But it’s never too late to start.

We celebrate four weeks marked by lighting a candle that prepares us for each week’s focus. It causes us to. S L O W…and refocus. Escape the crazy spinning that Christmas has become, and enter the PEACE and wonder that Christ has always been.

The first Sunday of Advent focus on: HOPE
Jesus is coming that was and is our greatest hope! Hope is rooted in God’s faithfulness and promises. Throughout Scripture, His Word brings promises to LIFE. And the greatest promise that came to LIFE was Christ. Today, we anticipate his second coming! How I crave his return! Spend this week learning about the hope that is Christ! What does it entail? Research…dig into a good Advent series. Pray for the Spirit to fill you with a contagious hope for his coming and an eternity focus from here. “And again, Isaiah says, ‘The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.’ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:12-13)

This week, focus on all that gives you hope. Seek out Bible verses that fill you with hope. Memorize them. Be intentional about slowing down to pray and give thanks.

This second Sunday focus on: FAITH.
Advent is a season of preparation. Prepare your heart through introspection and repentance. Seek God’s will and purpose for this next year. What is he leading you towards? You won’t be prepared to do it, but it’s important to be willing. That’s what faith is all about. God does not call the equipped; he equips the called. Walk in faith rooted in trust. Ultimately faith reveals God’s promises. He always keeps his promises. Over 700 years before Jesus was born, Isaiah prophesied (predicted) that a Savior would be born. (Isaiah is a beautiful book is full of predictions that came true!) The promise of a Savior was fulfilled in Christ. “As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: ‘A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him. Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. And all mankind will see God’s salvation.‘ Luke 3:4-6

This week, focus on growing your faith. Faith is like a muscle, it becomes stronger when you use it. Seek out Bible verses about faith. Memorize them. Be intentional about slowing down to pray and give thanks.

This third Sunday focus on: JOY!
It’s hard to imagine joy in this crazy, broken world, but this is about reJOYcing. It’s about receiving unexpected joy regardless of circumstances. It’s about a joy rooted in God’s promises. Joy becomes internally and externally contagious. As we seek it in the simple things, the beauty of a leaf in mid-air, the kindness of a stranger, a front row parking spot, it grows. Seek joy. Find joy. Choose joy. it’s there, amidst the ugly, and hard, and darkness…it’s there. As we search for the joy around us, we’re reminded that joy is not the absence of troubles, but the presence of Christ. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:7-15

This week, focus on the joy around you. Joy is about reJOYcing. There is much to be thankful for. Rejoice and watch your joy grow. Seek out Bible verses about joy. Memorize them. Be intentional about slowing down to pray and give thanks.

This fourth Sunday focus on: PEACE.
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Luke 2:14. “I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 God’s peace is about a way of life. It’s not about war ceasing, but about peace living – experiencing the peace that surpasses all understanding as we live within his expectations. We were created to be at peace with God, yet in our rebellious nature and sin, it’s impossible. Jesus bridges that great divide. “Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.” Regardless how wide the gap, we are reconciled to God…and it is there, we find peace. God sent angels to proclaim Christ’s arrival to shepherds, common men, and he still uses ordinary people to proclaim Christ. Peace be with you friends!

This week, focus on inspiring peace. Repenting of sin and our rebelliousness brings instant peace. Seek out Bible verses about peace. Memorize them. Be intentional about slowing down to pray and give thanks.

When a photo fail becomes perfection

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The Lord reveals His love to me in a million ways, and this day, on the day of THANKS, He decides to use a photo, a defective photo, to douse love and shine bright {because He is the brightest light}. It reminds me of a promise He gave me long ago.

But first, the photo. It reveals swirls of light over my family…and a huge beam of light shines next to Aaron; and the rainbow light, do you see it over Lindsay? Rainbows, my forever promise-sign that God uses to tell me He’s near. This photo, invaded by the sun, distorts clarity. By most, it’s delete worthy, but for me, it’s PERFECT. The most beautiful rays of light cover my family as He promised me years ago He would!

You see, in a season of despair, of hospital visits, of heart wrenching family pain, of life and death, the Scriptures below came to life. They breathed life. A promise. It’s how He speaks; His Word is living and active, full of promises. They came to life as if He said, “I will shine as the noonday sun and cover and protect.” He spoke loudly…that’s all I needed. I need nothing more than His Words to come to life.

Since then, peace replaces fear when I don’t understand the darkness that takes over at times, and like a branding on my soul He reminds me: “I will shine as the noonday sun and cover and protect.” And peace…

So yesterday, a photo is taken and the way I see it, it’s invaded by the Son, and He shines brighter than the noonday sun, and He covers my family. And I’m overwhelmed with peace this Thanksgiving day because of Him, peace!

“Arise, my people! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is streaming from you. Darkness as black as night shall cover all the peoples of the earth, but the glory of the Lord will shine from you. All nations will come to your light; mighty kings will come to see the glory of the Lord upon you.” Isaiah 60:1-3 ”

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.” Isaiah 58:8

And so, I give thanks!

God And Evil…

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Please know, God does not choreograph evil, He never has, humans act on it. In our free-will-rebellion; we allow evil to take over our mind, and we act. It’s a choice. Yet, in God’s sovereign wisdom and eternal vision, He allows horrific events to go through His filter for reasons we will never know this side of heaven. But we do know, if we know the Word, the living Word, His character and insight. In His great mercy and grace He sets constraints. In this insane mess of today, He constrains. If we don’t know the Word and His-story, we’ll be as blind.

Job is a book in the Bible about Job. His story is representative of ours today. It’s isolated to one man, but representative of life, the battles in the heavenly’s, and now. It is an incredible story about God and evil. And God always wins because HE is ultimately in control.

But…free will. It will be like a death for some, insanity for others if it doesn’t lead us to the saving grace of Christ. Free will allows us to open our eyes for ourselves by God’s grace.

What we do know is that the events we face today are not isolated. War has raged in the hearts and hands of men and women since the beginning of our existence. It’s a choice. If we trust God and “put away our sin” and devote our lives to HIM, we have nothing to fear. If we don’t, hope becomes like a gasping breath.

Job 11:13- “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp.”

#Trust #Faith. #NoFear #TheBattleIsTheLords

In honor of Paris— 11/13/15

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When evil in the world is a massacre on innocence. When ‘tomorrow’ has been stolen from so many, and peoples tomorrow’s are distorted forever. When grief crushes hope…because you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t crushed.

It’s here where we STAND, and suit up strong— because our Christian life is not passive. Prayer is the work. These things are the beginning of sorrows. It’s not the end unless the world stops the insanity and looks up to the ONE who determines the end. “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Revelation 22:13

Red Cup Madness

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Dear Lord,

My heart is broken…even more than that, crushed. Crushed as I see the world devastated by what seems a flood…no, a tsunami of depravity. Crushed as I see pure love replaced by rants..crazy rants about red cups. RED.CUPS Ridiculous energy spent on red.cups. Cups that don’t belong to us. Cups that will never come close to the CUP that is YOU! Lord, heal our calloused hearts that prevent us from seeing and hearing clearly and speaking LIFE. (Acts 28:27)

/// LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. Psalm 16:5
/// The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? I Cor 10:16

Father, may we focus on fixing ourselves before trying to fix the world. We pray for change but WE aren’t willing to change. We pray for healing but we aren’t willing to be healed…truly healed…heart healed. That’s the problem. Broken hearts.

We’ve lost sight of true and pure love. Oh, we can DO much in your Name but it’s empty without love as YOU define it (1 Cor 13). We can speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but if we don’t love others with your SACRIFICIAL, SELFLESS, NO-AGENDA-BUT-LOVE love, we’re just NOISE. Oh, we can prophecy truth and have all kinds of human knowledge and know all kinds of Bible verses, and even move mountains, but without your HUMBLE, GENTLE, PATIENT, UNRATTLED love, we’re NOTHING…empty. Futile. And if we were so motivated to give everything to the poor and sacrifice our life for you, but didn’t love others with YOUR INTENTIONAL, HOLY SPIRIT INSPIRED, JOY FILLED LOVE, we gain nothing! It’s all useless. empty. rants.

Lord teach us to LOVE! Your “love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; love flaunts not itself and is not puffed up, does not behave itself improperly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things” (1 Cor. 13:4-6).

Your love warns but it doesn’t rant or condemn. Your love carries burdens, and promises freedom. Your love stands in the gap, and and intercedes for the sake of HOPE, not spectacle. Your love refreshes…it does not crush.

Heal our hearts. Restore your people back to you. May your “gentle love” be our example. For your Word is clear that it is your kindness that leads to repentance (Rom 2:4).

As I journey through the insanity of this life, my peace rests in the knowledge that, Whatever cup I drink from, Wherever I shop, Whoever is president, However crazy this world appears to be, You JESUS, are KING!

Amen.

Summer in Psalms

Can I just BRAG? It’s about my daughter. Would you allow me a moment to focus on the blessing of God’s grace in her life?

Brizelle came up with a Bible study for us to do as a family this summer.

She titled it Summer In Psalms. It’s been the perfect Bible study for our hectic and full lives! It’s short, sweet and powerful!

You’ll need your Bible and a journal. You’ll be reading one Psalm per week. Before anything, always begin with prayer…ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and teach you. Be sure to spend time listening.

So here’s the scoop:

DAY 1: Read the Psalm slowly. Write down words that jump out and identify a phrase/sentence that impacted you most. Paraphrase it in your own words. Identify why it impacted you most. 

DAY 2: Read the Psalm. Now look up words that stand out and define them.

DAY 3: Read the Psalm. Write down what is true about God and what is true about you.

DAY 4: Read the Psalm. Journal your personal reflection and thoughts. Write a prayer that’s in your heart seeking God’s help and thanking Him for His love.

DAY 5: Come together as a family and read the Psalm out loud together. Each person shares about their daily experience & their greatest learning point. Close up this time by discussing the following week’s activities  and events. Encourage one another to keep a focus on Christ knowing that with him, all things are possible. End in prayer.

That’s it!! FIVE days. FIVE minutes.

High five!

Church Planting – Not For The Faint of Heart

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Exponential Church Planting Conference. SPARK was the theme of Exponential 2015, inspired by these words Paul wrote to Timothy: “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1: 6-7). Inside every follower of Jesus is the spark of multiplication and when that spark is “fanned into a flame,” it can ignite an entire culture of multiplication. But it takes friction—the quick strike of the match against a rough surface—to start the process of turning a spark into a flame and ultimately a raging fire.

We’re here! Our little spark is here.

Our spark has been craving the fellowship of other like minded, church planting crazies like ourselves. We’ve often asked ourselves, who in their right mind plants a church?!  No, really! Who does this?! “But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:16)  It’s Jesus who builds His church (Matthew 16:8). His charge and calling compel us.  When you surrender to God, He takes over. Thanks to Exponential, we found there are thousands of other crazies like us with the mind of Christ who crave to see the Gospel radically transform lives! It was utterly refreshing to connect with so many other church planters.  It was impactful and cathartic. And nice to know we’re not alone.

It’s been over a year since we planted Disciples Church. It’s been both an incredible gift, and a difficult journey. If you’re compelled to plant a church or be a part of the team, put on your thick skin and think long term. It’s a wild, shaky, yet wonderful ride. (Let me keep it real, some of the shaky includes times I want to quit and move to Italy. Lake Como to be exact:) 

One of the most healing aspects of the conference was sharing our stories. We’ve seen some pretty awesome churches bear much fruit and some, just as awesome, close their doors. Door closures can appear to be a sign of failure. But, if Jesus leads us towards something, and later closes the door, that’s no more failure than success. That’s the reality of His upside-down Kingdom. I truly believe there is no failure in God’s Kingdom. He’s in charge of the outcome. He sees the full picture. It doesn’t always make sense. It’s not supposed to. Our part is simply to obey the call to GO, regardless of the outcome—even if it looks like failure. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford. Another good reminder from Dave Ramsey, “Success is a pile of failure. You’re just standing on top of it and not underneath it.” 

The greatest achievers succeed on the heels of failure. Take Jeremiah for example. In Jeremiah 25:4-7, we read that for nearly 23 years, he preaches the same message, to the same hard-hearted people, with no results. NO RESULTS! Let that sink in. No.Results. I wonder if he asked himself, “Who in their right mind does this?” Who? Someone who knows their purpose. God gave him his purpose (Jeremiah 1:5). That made him certain about his calling. However bleak it appeared (TWENTY-THREE years), he knew the results belonged to God. (But still, I can’t imagine he didn’t have bouts of wanting to move to Lake Como.) Today, we see and celebrate the fruit of his labor. His success is rooted and established in the life he lived so intimately with God, and in his obedience to plant the seeds that God called him to plant. Seeds that bear fruit in our lives today!  

I believe some church planters are called to be Jeremiah’s of our day. Not an attractive option. And especially hard when many churches have a hyper focus on numbers. More = success. Numbers are good. We like numbers. Especially when it comes to salvation. Throughout Scripture we read about mass conversions, thousands at one time. But when numbers are the primary focus that define a ministry’s success, it’s time to refocus. Success in God’s eyes is about repentance and transformed hearts devoted to Him alone (1 Samuel 16:7). With God, ONE is a majority. 

In God’s church planting economy—craziness, drama, frustration, loneliness and seasons of swimming upstream are real…but failure…not so much. Not if it’s truly HIS vision and leading. What we perceive as failure could be the very catalyst that fuels a greater victory. It could simply be an opportunity to start over with greater experience behind you. Low attendance, and tight finances can result in door closures, but maybe it’s a sign to rethink your strategy.  What may appear bleak in our eyes, may not necessarily be the end, maybe there’s a new beginning around the corner? (Italy? Lake Como? Could that be prophetic? But I digress.) Are we willing to seek His will? Are we willing to think out of the proverbial box? Are we willing to hang in there? For 23 years? With NO.RESULTS? Gulp…

I’m preaching to myself.

We lost our building in August of this year. They raised the lease so significantly we had no choice. The initial blow was hard to accept. We called our church body to pray and fast. How to proceed? That was the question we asked back to God. To make a long story short, we agreed Church is not about a building, it’s about a people, on-mission, for the glory of God. So….we’re meeting at our home and trusting God to lead. 

Early on we asked ourselves, “What’s worth doing even IF we fail?” “What do you love doing so much that failure doesn’t have any meaning?” We’re doing it. We keep those questions visible on a chalkboard cabinet in our kitchen. Regardless of what the journey looks like, or if quitting seems like the best thing to do, Jesus strengthens and reveals glorious sights that refresh us every time. His blessings far outweigh the challenges. His miracles keep us rejoicing. Experiencing His abundant love keeps us clinging to the Cross for more. He asks, “Am I worth it?” Clearly, He’s worth all we have!

  • So in light of the fact that we lost our church building and we’re now meeting in our home —He’s worth it!
  • Regardless of the fact that we lack just about every accoutrement that fellow OC churches possess—He’s worth it!
  • Having to navigate through the ubiquitous question, “So, how big is your church?” or “How many people do you have?”—He’s worth it!
  • Considering the fact that we’ve lost the participation of a few dear friends in the process—He’s worth it!
  • Having to explain why we chose to plant “when there are so many churches already?”—He’s worth it!
  • The reality is that this adventure of church planting is one that’s lived between the gates of heaven and the hard surface of earth. Right in between. It’s a heavenly Spirit-led journey full of twists, turns and surprises…some AWEsome, some not!—And He’s worth it!

Some great reminders from the conference:

  • God doesn’t tell us to GO to church, He calls us to GO & make disciples, to GO into your communities and love the people.
  • Church planting is not about building a church (Jesus does that) it’s about sending out…it’s about engaging culture, reaching out into your community and having a heart for those who don’t know our triune God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • It’s not about conversion, it’s about transformation!
  • Church is not about a building, it’s about people on mission. Missionaries here. In your community.
  • If you’re not having fun, something’s wrong. (This last point warrants another blog!)

Thank you to everyone past and present who contributed, and to those who continue to roll up their sleeves and bring God’s Kingdom here on earth, as it is in heaven!